The Bloody Truth

Dear Cecil, seems that in fighting the war on ignorance you have approached the " if you cant fight them join them technique" . I recently stumbled upon oone of your archives, in which you take on the task to answer the question “Did Dracula Really Exist”. Lies , all lies is what i read there. Vlad Tepes(Tzepesh) was the son of a romanian nobleman, who was member of the medieval order of the Dragon, therefore called Dracul, in romanian speech. He is one of the greatest romanian rulers ever,despite his short reign
Tepes(Tzepesh) never really got to drink blood. He did burn a bunch of no-good bumps and pick pockets in order to reduce small crime that was making a mock out of the capital. And yes, he did slaughter noblemen, the boyars or boieri in romanian, but that was just a hobby, one that almost all romanian monarch have embraced in the last 800 years, as the boyars were constantly looking to gather money and lands and were easy in aiding turkish interest. They died by the thousands in history, but not enough it seems. As for the raiding the Transylvanian lands and killing tens of thoussands, that is mostly mumbo-jumbo. First of all, all these high figures are absurd. In a time when Vlad Tzepesh could barely field 40 000 drunk dudes to face the turks, it would had been genocide to slaughter thousands of people. Romanians arent exactly the chinese. As for impaling, yes that is a trade mark of Tzepesh himself, registered and stuff. But her didnt exactly cut down forests just to set world records in impaling. He used impaling as a psychilogical factor against the superior turkish army, renown for its large size and little courage. So yes many dudes got it in their behinds, mostly turkish.
All those rumours which you presented and which inspired Stoker are propaganda. Tzepesh controlled a commercial road that connected Transylvania and the Black Sea, road which had been tax free for certain german merchants living in Transylvania before Vlad came to power. His punitive actions towards those which refused to pay the (quite high) tax for travelling for using the route didnt really bring him much love from the merchants. And thats how the rumours were started and spread in their sphere of influence, with the hope of ruining Tzepesh political credibility. And in deed it worked. When he lost his throne, seeking for refuge in Transylvania, he was imprisoned by Matthaus Corvin and almost sentenced to death.
In my country Vlad Tzepesh is regarded as a national hero indeed, for his cojones in dealing with the Turkish rulers. In fact , he got the sultan mad enough to send almost 200 000 thousand soldiers, when instead of paying the annual tribute to the otomans, he kinda said: " Come and get it" in a rude way. As a paradox, you should know that his brother , Radu the Handsom, had a preference for men, thus the nick " The Handsom" . So actually Vlad The Impaler got overthrown by a dude that kinda took it up the… well you know :cool:

Assuming this is the column you’re referring to, Cecil specifically says “Vladimir was not a vampire”, though he was a vicious murderous tyrant. The connection to vampirism was made 400 years later in Bram Stoker’s novel.

Did he get the trains running on time, too?

Welcome to the Straight Dope Message Boards, Alex, we’re glad to have you with us.

When you start a thread, it’s helpful to other readers if you provide a link to the column you’re discussing. Saves search time and helps keep us all on the same page. I’ve edited such a link into your opening sentence, and Bryan has pretty much simultaneously provided a link. No biggie, you’ll know for next time.

And, as I say, welcome.

In terms of your take on Vlad T, please note that just because he was a hero to locals doesn’t mean he wasn’t seen as a “monster” by outsiders. The question is not whether he really drank blood and turned into a bat – the question is whether his reputation outside the country would be such that he might be seen as evil enough to spin yarns about, which could evolve into the vampire legends/stories.